Monday, 10 October 2011

Michigan 42 - Northwestern 24

Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune

Sometimes it's difficult to put what you're thinking or feeling into words that make any sense.  I think my post on The Greatest Wolverine proved that.  Michigan moved to 6-0 after defeating Northwestern on Saturday, and I'm sitting at my computer with the game on the TV beside me and I'm stumped.  I really have no idea how to say what I want to say.  I'm not really sure I have any idea what I want to say at all.  Was that a good game or a kind of not good game?  Did the second half show the true character of this team or did the first half cast a spotlight on the problems?  Um, Maybe?

Denard threw another 3 INT's in the first half, and they were all ugly.  Bad decisions, bad throws, not good.  The defense struggled with the option and had problems defending the edges.  Both of these have been ongoing problems.  And then in the second half the defense shut Northwestern down and Denard started zipping accurate passes all over the field.  The first and second half were completely different and yet both of them probably represent what the Wolverines are.  They're a team that makes great adjustments, forces turnovers, plays well inside the tackle box and has an explosive offense that can completely blow up when Denard makes bad decisions with the ball.  At some point the bad will probably outway the good and Michigan will lose and we'll all fall.  But for now, we couldn't be higher.

Denard has to take better care of the ball: The three interceptions were terrible and at some point this will bite Michigan.  These aren't bad playcalls and it isn't the offense.  Those were just three bad throws.  On the first one, he probably could have actually hit Hemingway behind the LB's and in front of the safety, but he threw it falling away off his back foot.  And he didn't even need to.  He had room to step into the throw.  Sure he would have taken a hit, but sometimes that what a QB has to do.  I didn't particularly like the playcall on the second pick (the field is just too tight down there for the play to be as effective as it can be), but he still had a safety in no man's land between Vincent Smith and Kevin Koger.  I know he had a guy in his face, but in that area of the field he's better off eating it and taking a sack than throwing a pick.  I'm not even sure who he was throwing to on the last one.

But he's such an amazing runner and he's capable of making some great throws as well.  I guess you live by the sword, you die by the sword.

The screen game is excellent: Have the Wolverines gone a game without hitting at least one screen that goes for 20+ yards?  It's the best part of the passing game and Al Borges has done a great job of coming up with new wrinkles to the screen that have worked over and over.  I know that people loved the bubble screen and it can of course be very effective, but the screen game hasn't suffered at all for the lack of it.

I need to start keeping a record of how many times Michigan's DLine pancakes offensive linemen: Mike Martin ran over another lineman on Saturday, and that seems to be becoming a regular thing.  Twice Martin has pancaked centers, Will Campbell has done it (although granted, Minnesota), Roh and Van Bergen have both done it.  Leverage will work wonders.  It's unfortunate that Will Campbell was wasted for two seasons because he really seems to be coming into his own.

No comments:

Post a Comment